CDC Survey Finds That 20 Percent of Women Were Mistreated During Maternity Care

Maternal death rates in the U.S. rose from 2018 to 2021, particularly among women from nonwhite racial and ethnic groups. More than 80 percent of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.

A new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that women from some racial and ethnic minority groups are also more likely to have negative healthcare experiences during pregnancy and delivery that impact the quality of care and health outcomes. Some 20 percent of those surveyed reported experiences of mistreatment during maternity care. For Black mothers, 30 percent said they had been mistreated during maternity care.

The most common types of mistreatment reported were:

• Receiving no response to requests for help.
• Being shouted at or scolded.
• Not having their physical privacy protected.
• Being threatened with withholding treatment or made to accept unwanted treatment.

Almost half of women receiving maternity care reported holding back from asking questions or sharing concerns during their pregnancy or delivery. The top reasons included:

• Thinking, or being told by friends or family, what they were feeling was normal.
• Not wanting to make a big deal about it or being embarrassed to talk about it.
• Thinking their healthcare provider would think they’re being difficult.
• Thinking their healthcare provider seemed rushed.
• Not feeling confident that they knew what they were talking about.

Filed Under: Research/Study

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